11 Interview Skills for Success

Interviews can be nerve-wracking. But don’t let nerves get in the way of a great opportunity. 

Getting an interview is a win. It means your potential employer is interested enough to invest their time in you. Use that time wisely. Show them more of who you are, without being overly personal. Share stories and insights that your resume can’t. Here are some of our top tips to help you get the job.

1. Do some Research

Do your research on the company. You should have already done this for your cover letter, but refresh your memory. Know about their business.

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2. Be Prepared

Part of your preparation should be re-reading your own resume. That helps you prepare for questions relating to your experience. Then, re-read the job description. Make notes on how your skills and experience match up with what they are looking for.

3. Practice

Look up standard interview questions like: “Tell me about a time when…” You could write out your answers. Or you might like to practice with a friend by doing a mock interview.

4. Visualise

Whether you are nervous or not, visualisation can help. Imagine the interview going well. See yourself in your best light. Many successful people including professional athletes use the technique of visualisation.

5. Dress Appropriately

The day has arrived. Pick your outfit according to the work environment. If it’s an office, dress more formally. If it’s a casual environment, wear something smart (polo shirt or dress shirt for a man, and blouse or dress for a woman). Make sure you have nice, clean footwear.

6. Be on Time

Account for traffic, accidents, road works, etc. You are better off arriving 30 minutes early than late. If you arrive early, you can use that time to look over your notes in a nearby café.

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7. Be Authentic

Don’t try to be someone you are not. It is good to be friendly and open, but even more important to be yourself. People can feel fakeness, and it won’t resonate. In short, do your best to demonstrate your interpersonal skills.

8. Share Wisely

You will be asked about past experiences. If it was a negative one, you may be tempted to badmouth your former employer. Do not do that. Instead, you could say things like: “I was challenged by or to…” Explain yourself in a professional way. Watch your language and emotions. If you got fired, spend some time reflecting on it. This will help you talk about what you’ve learned, so you can present the experience in the best light possible.

9. Stay Present

Don’t let your mind wander. Stay in the room, present with the interviewer. This includes making good eye contact (but not too much). Also pay attention to your non-verbal communication. Sit up straight, don’t fiddle, and nod your agreement as appropriate.

10. Listen Closely

The other piece of demonstrating your communication skills is showing how well you can listen. Since you are practicing presence, it should be easy to really hear what they’re saying. This can give you hints about what they are looking for, beyond what you know from the job description.

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11. Follow Up

Your interview may be done, but there is still another step. Send an email to the interviewer. Thank them for their time. This shows your interest and puts you top of mind.

Getting the job may be critical for your future, but don’t come in with an air of desperation. Be confident without being overly so. Know your worth, and do your best to communicate it. Practice these steps, and remember what Rumi says: what you seek is seeking you.

Please share with anyone who is thinking about getting a new job. It’s great to be prepared when opportunity knocks. Best of luck Job Searchers!

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written by alison starratt